The K9 Companion class began as an entry level training course for dogs that are 6 months or older. The concepts, however, can be used for all ages of dogs including puppies. The class introduces you to reward-based training techniques that will help you communicate to your dog a basic vocabulary of commands and will strengthen the bond you have with your dog to help make him or her a better house companion. Please review all the weeks because information in latter weeks make be useful immediately. Certainly there are various sequences in which the exercises may be taught and you should do what works best for you and your K9 Companion.

Week #1 Homework

As in all training classes, each week builds on previous weeks so it’s important that you review all the week’s homework as you get them and also look at previous weeks for information that may have slipped your mind.

Read, study and practice the
“YES as a Marker” handout. This is the method that will be taught and you’ll discover how easy it is (once you get the hang of it) to communicate with your dog in everyday life. After you’ve taught your dog that the word YES means a treat is coming, start to say YES when he does something right around the house and then reward him with the treat that you pull out of your pocket. Remember, you are now a treat dispenser!! Don’t disappoint him by saying YES and then you don’t have a treat ready. The treat is his paycheck for doing the work right. Think how disappointed you’d be if you went to work for a week and then didn’t get the paycheck you expected and worked for all week.

Keep the training sessions short and fun. Be happy when interacting with him and let him know that you’re having fun too.
Reach for his collar and say YES and treat. So often reaching for his collar means something bad is about to happen that he’ll duck and try to get away. You want to change that perception so you can reach for his collar and he won’t pull away.

Discover what treats motivate your dog. I use the food rolls chopped in very small pieces. A hot dog sliced lengthwise 2 times and then chopped will give you about 60 pieces. To make it even better, sprinkle with just a bit of garlic salt and put in the microwave. This also removes some of the fat in the hot dogs. Don’t free feed your dog or food won’t be something worth working for.

Read the handout “Communication is the Key” and make a list of words you will use when communicating with your dog. Post this list in a visible place such as the refrigerator.

Keep a log of your training with notes regarding the problems you may be having and, of course, record the successes!! Commit to 2+ short training session per day for the duration of this course. (You can do anything for 6 weeks!) by doing this, at the end of the week you’ll be able to look back and see what you’ve accomplished!

And lastly, don’t forget to bring a small mat to class next week so your dog can learn that he has a “place’.

Click here for Homework Worksheet

Click here for a printable version of this page.